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South Dakota Public Utilities Commission Meeting
May 14, 2019, at 8:00 A.M. CDT
Room 413, Capitol Building

Pierre, South Dakota

MINUTES OF THE COMMISSION MEETING

Commissioner Gary Hanson called the meeting to order. Commissioners: Chris Nelson and Kristie Fiegen; Commission Attorneys: Karen Cremer and Adam de Hueck; Commission Advisor: Greg Rislov; Staff Attorney: Kristen Edwards; Staff Analysts: Brittany Mehlhaff, Patrick Steffensen, Eric Paulson, Darren Kearney, Joseph Rezac and Lorena Reichert; Consumer Affairs Manager: Deb Gregg; and Staff: Kaitlyn Baucom.

Present were:
Cary Stephenson, Rick Johnson, Pete Beithon, Bruce Gerhardson and Matt Olsen, Otter Tail Power Company; Bob Mercer, KELO reporter; Peter Pawlowski, sPower Corporation; Brett Koenecke, representing Montana-Dakota Utilities Co.; Lisa Agrimonti, Fredrikson & Byron, P.A., representing Deuel Harvest Wind Energy LLC and Prevailing Wind Park, LLC; John Homan, self; Sherman Fuerniss, self; Lori Fuerniss, self; Jon Henslin, self; Nancy Henslin, self; Will Stone, self; Ruby Holborn, self; and Theresa Lichty, self.

Joining the meeting by telephone were:
Staff Attorney: Amanda Reiss; Tom Welk, Boyce Law Firm, LLP, representing Otter Tail Power Company; Miles Schumacher, Lynn, Jackson, Shultz and Lebrun, PC, representing Crowned Ridge Wind, LLC and Crowned Ridge Wind II, LLC; Dave Peterson and Basil Copeland, Chesapeake Regulatory Consultants Inc, representing PUC staff; Katelyn Lynch-Butcher, Aimee Rooney, Amanda Hosch and Diane Votino, MidAmerican Energy Company; Jason Topp, Qwest Corporation dba CenturyLink QC; Mollie Smith, Fredrikson & Byron, P.A., representing Sweetland Wind Farm, LLC; Mark Wengierski, Sweetland Wind Farm, LLC; Brian Murphy, NextEra Energy Resources, LLC, representing Crowned Ridge Wind, LLC; Tamie Aberle, Nathan Bensen, Rob Frank and Travis Jacobson, Montana-Dakota Utilities Co., a Subsidiary of MDU Resources Group Inc.; and Kelli Pazour, self.

(NOTE: For the purpose of continuity, these minutes are not necessarily in chronological order.)

Administration

1.     Approval of Minutes of the Ad Hoc Meeting held on April 10, 2019 (Staff: Joy Lashley)

Commissioner Nelson moved to approve the minutes of the Ad Hoc meeting held on April 10, 2019. Motion carried 3-0.

Consumer Reports

1.     Status Report on Consumer Utility Inquiries (Consumer Affairs: Deb Gregg)

The Commission received a total of 49 contacts since the last report was prepared for the May 2, 2019 Commission meeting.

Ten contacts were related to telecommunication services, 13 contacts were related to electrical services, one contact was related to natural gas service, one contact was related to gas and electric service, six contacts were related to wireless service, eight contacts were related to the Do Not Call Registry, one contact was related to One Call and nine contacts were related to issues not regulated by the PUC. 

Contacts received in 2019: 495 of the 506 have been resolved.

Electric

1.     EL18-021     In the Matter of the Application of Otter Tail Power Company for Authority to Increase Its Electric Rates (Staff Analysts: Brittany Mehlhaff, Eric Paulson, Joseph Rezac, Lorena Reichert; Staff Attorney: Kristen Edwards)

A lengthy discussion took place regarding docket EL18-021. An audio of the discussion can be found on the PUC website under Commission Actions, Commission Meeting Archives, 2019, May 14, 2019, recording located at: http://puc.sd.gov/commission/media/2019/puc05142019.mp3.

     Commissioner Fiegen moved to approve a rate of return on equity in order to produce just and reasonable rates of 8.75%.

     Commissioner Hanson made a substitute motion to approve a rate of return on equity in order to produce just and reasonable rates of 8.90%. Motion failed 2-1.

     Main motion carried 3-0.

2.     EL17-050     In the Matter of the Application of Crowned Ridge Wind, LLC for a Facility Permit to Construct a 230 kV Transmission Line and Associated Facilities from Codington County to the Big Stone South Substation (Staff Analysts: Jon Thurber, Darren Kearney; Staff Attorneys: Kristen Edwards, Amanda Reiss)

Mr. Miles Schumacher, Lynn, Jackson, Shultz and Lebrun, PC, representing Crowned Ridge Wind, LLC (Crowned Ridge), asked that the Commission grant the Motion for Approval and Acceptance of Circuit Change and other changes as outlined in the motion. Mr. Darren Kearney, staff analyst, recommended that the Commission approve Crowned Ridge’s request.

     Commissioner Nelson moved to grant the Motion for Approval and Acceptance of Circuit Change and other changes as outlined in the motion. Motion carried 3-0.

3.     EL18-026     In the Matter of the Application by Prevailing Wind Park, LLC for a Permit of a Wind Energy Facility in Bon Homme County, Charles Mix County and Hutchinson County, South Dakota, for the Prevailing Wind Park Project (Staff Analysts: Darren Kearney, Jon Thurber; Staff Attorney: Kristen Edwards)

A lengthy discussion took place regarding docket EL18-026. An audio of the discussion can be found on the PUC website under Commission Actions, Commission Meeting Archives, 2019, May 14, 2019, recording located at: http://puc.sd.gov/commission/media/2019/puc05142019.mp3 .

     Commissioner Nelson moved to refer the matter to the States Attorney and subject the Applicant to a civil penalty of $2,500 to be deposited in the permanent school fund.

     Commissioner Hanson moved to amend the original motion to $5,000. Motion carried 3-0.

     Commissioner Hanson moved to amend the main motion as amended to reflect the Applicant’s and Staff’s settlement of a civil penalty of $30,000 to be deposited in the permanent school fund and resolve all issues. Motion carried 3-0.

4.     EL18-053     In the Matter of the Application of Deuel Harvest Wind Energy LLC for a Permit of a Wind Energy Facility and a 345-kV Transmission Line in Deuel County (Staff Analysts: Darren Kearney, Jon Thurber; Staff Attorneys: Kristen Edwards, Amanda Reiss)

A lengthy discussion took place regarding docket EL18-053. An audio of the discussion can be found on the PUC website under Commission Actions, Commission Meeting Archives, 2019, May 14, 2019, recording located at: http://puc.sd.gov/commission/media/2019/puc05142019.mp3 .

     Commissioner Hanson moved to grant the permit subject to the stipulation regarding Otter Tail Power and upon the conditions agreed to by Staff and Applicant as set forth in Corrected Attachment A - Applicant and Staff's Updated Proposed Permit Conditions.

     Commissioner Nelson moved to amend the main motion to state that neither the blade nor the turbine can intrude into the traffic pattern airspace of Homan Field. Motion failed 1-2.

     Commissioner Fiegen moved to amend the main motion to state that, as stipulated to by Staff and Applicant, all turbines shall be greater than 2,000 feet from the 20:1 approach surface of Homan Field and no turbine blades shall intrude on the traffic pattern airspace for Homan Field. Motion carried 3-0.

     Commissioner Nelson moved to amend the motion to state that no turbine may be constructed within 2 miles of Lake Alice unless the current ordinance is amended or a court of competent jurisdiction finds that the ordinance reads as Applicant argues. Motion carried 3-0.

     Commissioner Hanson moved to amend the motion to limit noise on both participants and non-participants to 45 dBA. Motion failed 1-2.

     Commissioner Fiegen moved to amend condition 26 of the motion to delete the language “non-participating” and replace it with “any unless the person has signed a waiver.” Motion carried 2-1.

     Commissioner Hanson moved to amend to remove the word “if” from Condition 35. Motion carried 3-0.

     Commissioner Nelson moved to amend condition 36B, line 6, after the word “that” insert “reduced or”. Motion carried 3-0. 

     Commissioner Hanson moved that Condition 1 be amended to add the language “absent of conflicts of interest” after the word “permits” in the first line.  Motion fails 1-2.

     Commissioner Hanson moved to insert the word “consultant’s” before the word “staff” and after the word “where” in condition 26 (e) iv. Motion carried 3-0.

     Commissioner Hanson moved that following condition 27c, add the words for turbine flexibility from PWP. Motion carried 3-0.

     Commissioner Hanson moved to amend condition 13 by adding “Applicant shall file a final cultural resource report with the Commission prior to commercial operation”. Motion carries 3-0.

     Commissioner Fiegen moved that in condition 37, first line be amended to add the word “electric” before the word “utility”. Motion carries 3-0.

     Main motion as amended carried 3-0.

5.     EL19-009     In the Matter of the Filing by Montana-Dakota Utilities Co., a Subsidiary of MDU Resources Group Inc., for Approval of the Annual Update to Its Transmission Cost Recovery Rider Rate (Staff Analyst: Lorena Reichert; Staff Attorney: Amanda Reiss)

A lengthy discussion took place regarding docket EL19-009. An audio of the discussion can be found on the PUC website under Commission Actions, Commission Meeting Archives, 2019, May 14, 2019, recording located at: http://puc.sd.gov/commission/media/2019/puc05142019.mp3 .

     Commissioner Nelson moved to approve the revised Transmission Cost Recovery Rate of $0.00515/kWh and revised tariff sheet, effective May 15, 2019, and to hold a hearing regarding a new TCRR rate related to the Bowdle Substation.

     Commissioner Hanson made a substitute motion to approve the revised Transmission Cost Recovery Rate of $0.00515/kWh and revised tariff sheet, effective May 15, 2019. Motion carried 3-0.

6.     EL19-012     In the Matter of the Application by Sweetland Wind Farm, LLC for Facility Permits for a Wind Energy Facility and a 230-kV Transmission Facility in Hand County, South Dakota for the Sweetland Wind Farm Project (Staff Analysts: Darren Kearney, Jon Thurber, Eric Paulson; Staff Attorney: Kristen Edwards)

Ms. Mollie Smith, Fredrikson & Byron, P.A., representing Sweetland Wind Farm, LLC (Sweetland), stated Sweetland supported the procedural schedule and did not object to the intervention filed. Ms. Kristen Edwards, staff attorney, stated that staff doesn’t object to the intervention and recommended that the Commission adopt the procedural schedule.

     Commissioner Fiegen moved to grant party status to Theresa Lichty and establish a procedural schedule. Motion carried 3-0.

7.     EL19-016     In the Matter of the Application by Crowned Ridge Wind II, LLC for a Permit of a Wind Energy Facility in Deuel, Grant and Codington Counties (Staff Analysts: Darren Kearney, Jon Thurber, Eric Paulson; Staff Attorneys: Amanda Reiss, Kristen Edwards)

Mr. Miles Schumacher, Lynn, Jackson, Shultz and Lebrun, PC, representing Crowned Ridge Wind II, LLC (Crowned Ridge), asked that the Commission withdraw the application without prejudice. Ms. Amanda Reiss, staff attorney, stated staff had no objection to the request.

     Commissioner Hanson moved to grant Crowned Ridge Wind II, LLC’s request to withdraw the application without prejudice.Motion carried 3-0.

Gas and Electric

1.     GE17-003      In the Matter of Staff’s Request to Investigate the Effects of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act on South Dakota Utilities (Staff Analyst: Brittany Mehlhaff; Staff Attorneys: Kristen Edwards, Amanda Reiss)

Ms. Brittany Mehlhaff, staff analyst, recommended that the Commission approve the Joint Motion for Approval of Settlement Stipulation and approve the rates, tariff sheets, terms and conditions stipulated therein, including the revised pages MidAmerican filed on May 13, 2019.

     Commissioner Hanson moved to grant the Joint Motion for Approval of Settlement Stipulation and approve the rates, tariff sheets, terms and conditions stipulated therein, including the revised pages MidAmerican filed on May 13, 2019. Motion carried 3-0.

Telecommunications

1.     TC19-008     In the Matter of the Approval of a Cageless Collocation Bay Procurement Amendment to the Interconnection Agreement between Qwest Corporation dba CenturyLink QC and Level 3 Communications, LLC (Staff Analyst: Joseph Rezac; Staff Attorney: Amanda Reiss)

Mr. Jason Topp, Qwest Corporation dba CenturyLink QC (CenturyLink), asked that the Commission approve the amendment to the interconnection agreement between CenturyLink and Level 3 Communications, LLC. Mr. Joseph Rezac, staff analyst, recommended that the Commission approve the request.

     Commissioner Fiegen moved to Approve the Amendment to the Interconnection Agreement. Motion carried 3-0.
     
Public Comment

Mr. Sherman Fuerniss made public comments.

There being no further business, at the hour of 1:43 p.m., the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission meeting adjourned.

/s/Joy Lashley     .
Joy Lashley
Administrative Specialist
PUC Email
May 14, 2019